I have played wargames for over 20 years and first started with Space Marine by Games Workshop, I then spent a good number of years playing 40K.
I also dabbled with Mordheim and this game really caught my imagination. Rather than having full scale armies with a couple of leading characters, leading a motley crew who could battle other warbands and actually progress really appealed to me.
I suppose that was my entry into Skirmish games and I’ve since played Saga, X-wing, Bolt Action but my favourite has to be Batman.
I’ve had many discussions about why this is the case. I think firstly its because of the wealth of material. Everyone knows who Batman is and quite often in his many incarnations whether its comics, movies or more lately the brilliant Arkham games by Rocksteady.
Yet it is not just because of that. You can have a beautiful miniature as indeed the Knight Models range is, but if the game sucks or favours the latest shiny new army or model (GW), then that can immediately turn people off. So that is what the focus of this article is. I’m going to run through how the game works and explain why I like it so much.
Batman Miniature Game mechanics
Each character whether its a Leader, Sidekick, Free Agent or Henchman gets their own card. This card contains all the stats and rules that apply to that character. So what are the things you need to know?
Each character has a willpower value. This is how many counters that character can place on the four main actions. The higher the Rep the higher the willpower. So Batman has willpower 8, but a regular policeman has a willpower of 4. The four main action categories are movement, attack, defence, special and the number next to them is the maximum number of counters you can put on that category.
Most basic models have a standard movement of 10cm, though there are variations such as if someone has the acrobat rule or you waddle like the Penguin. On top of that, characters can run instead and to do that, they have to put a willpower counter on special and one on movement. This doubles the basic movement to 20cm. Players can also place a willpower counter to further the movement distance and for every movement counter placed the player rolls a D6 and then adds that to their basic 10cm.
Placing willpower counters here allows players to either attack in combat or by firing guns or throwing weapons. To fire a gun 2 attack counters are needed.
Players can place willpower tokens here if they want to block an attack. They have to roll equal or above the enemies attack value to block an attack. You cannot block a firearm attack, but if a player has the acrobat roll they can use a movement counter to dodge out of the way.
Willpower counters here allow players to do use additional rules. Mentioned earlier was the ability to run, special counters are also needed to enter into a sewer or for Batman to fire his Batclaw. There are also lots of other rules for individual characters
This is the dice roll you need to cause damage to someone
This how much damage your character can take before they are knocked out or worse still, become a casualty.
Stages of the Game
To create the randomness within the game, it is split up into stages. Each player has counters to represent who gets to go first. This is called the Raise The Plan stage
Raise The Plan
Whichever player’s counter is pulled out of a bag, gets to raise their plan first. They assign all the willpower counters for all their models. The opposing player can see and then deploys his willpower counters.
This is one of the best things about this game, rather than you go, I go like a lot of gaming systems each player activates a character at time and all their actions are done at once. There is also no set order so characters can run then fight or fight then run.
Once all the action counters have been used then the opposing player activates one of their characters. This in my opinion makes this game so much more fluid and engaging because rather than waiting for a player to move all of their gang its taken in turns.
To fire a weapon 2 attack counters are used. The Rate of Fire (ROF) of the weapon is used and if a character has moved their ROF is reduced to one. This also applies if a character intends to move after shooting, his ROF is still one.
To see if the weapon has hit you have to roll equivalent to the enemies defence value or higher. To cause damage you then have to roll a 2+. Even if no damage is caused the enemy receives a stun marker because of being fired at.
To attack another model you have to be in contact with them or within range if using a hammer or Robin’s Bo. Willpower counters have to be placed on the Attack section. Some models have the combo rule meaning they get another attack for every two. The attacking player then has to achieve the score on the opposing players defence.
Once the number of hits have been established, the defending player can try and block any of these hits if they have defence counters placed on their card. The attacking player then rolls for damage and has to try and beat their strength score, so Batman has a 3+ to get where as a Gotham City beat officer may have to get a 5 to cause damage.
It’s also important to remember that when rolling for damage either shooting or combat a critical damage die is thrown. If a damage die matches the critical die, the model is knocked to the floor. They’re not unconscious but have to spend one movement counter to stand back up.
Damage is caused by whatever weapon or in some cases just bear hands. These two type of damage are important. Blood damage is more serious because at the end of a turn you get an attempt to remove at least one counter of stun damage.
Once the number of damage counters equals to the endurance of the model they are knocked out. If the model receives equal number of blood to their endurance they are dead.
Well that’s a basic run-down of the game. I hope you find it helpful. If you have any questions leave a comment below.
I also urge you to join Arkham City Limits group on Facebook. You’ll find some experienced players and new people a like but all sharing our fondness of this game, as well as direct links to the creator and the company who produce the models.
Finally I leave you this. Images of the forthcoming rulebook which will further assist the growth of this game.